Elevating the Level of Refereeing

The inaugural kick back was a great success. The environment was exciting, vibrant and energetic. However the lack of quality officiating, and in particular the No Contests, was a dissapointment.

(Dunlap v. Cora 2:05:10 in the broadcast)

The screen shot is from moments before the ref called off the fight due to an unintentional illegal hit to the back of the head. Clearly the hit to the back of the head occurred due to Cora completely covering up and essentially submitting.

No Contests (and poor refereeing in general) create a lose lose situation for the fans, $karate voters, fighters and the league. Fans want to see fights decided by the fighters merits not by a referees decision. $karate voters all “lose” in a no contest (this issue is already being discussed here Kickback 1 No Contests). Fighters do not have the chance to properly showcase their skill and the league does not the have opportunity to properly asses the fighters talent.

Additionally, in a conversation between President Asim and Raymond Daniels a couple days prior to the event and I overheard Raymond mention that one of his biggest frustrations as a KC athlete was the fact the refs didn’t have a complete understanding of the rule set and would improperly intervene during fights. I asked him what the best solution to this problem would be and he replied “education”.

Karate Combat has a unique and dynamic rule set. In order for KC to continue to establish it self as the premier karate brand worldwide I believe KC needs to elevate the level of refereeing. To address this, I suggest karate combat invest in referee seminars where referees, fighters and league ambassadors attend to discuss, refine and review the rule set.

During this seminar referees should review previous fights, listen to and understand the perspective of fighters, and be walked through various scenarios with live demonstrations. One or two days of such a conference would elevate the league as a whole.

Marc Goddard, who has worked with the UFC and KC on numerous occasions, hosts such trainings for mma and would be capable of lead a KC focused training. MMA Officials Training — Goddard MMA

Improving the quality of refereeing should be of top priority and I believe this is one good way to approach this issue.


Yes, education is always the answer. What most people are leaving out are that there were multiple fouls in that exchange. The back of the head was exposed due to a fighter turning away…but there was also the use of hammer fists. At the moment, the hammer fist is still illegal, which means the fighter was wrong no matter how you slice it. Of course the referee’s and judges should always have education for every event to refresh their eyes/brains on the rules, but the fighters are ultimately responsible for their actions.

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Asim said multiple times to me and the fighters over the course of the last week that hammer fits are now legal with the removal of the 5 second rule


Would love to continue our convo on ref education from a couple months back. Maybe we can grab Turbo, Gabe and Asim for One More Round with Macmally to discuss live before KC44.


I think that would be an excellent way to create open discourse on the matter. I loved the Kickback event but also felt the no contest was an inaccurate call as only one real strike landed on the back of Cora’s head and as Gabirel mentioned, was due to Cora balling up essentially. In my view he had simply lost the will to fight.

Regardless, having a discussion on referee education as this is certainly a unique league with a unique ruleset would be a great way to get the ball in motion.